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Smart Snacks

Smart Snacks

New Nutrition Standards Overview

As a part of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the new Smart Snacks in School rules affect “competitive foods” sold in schools, which include vending machines, a la carte lunch lines, and in student stores. These snacks and beverages are purchased outside of the regular meals provided by the school, and “compete” with the nutritionally regulated and reimbursable national school lunch and breakfast programs.

All areas of the campus under the jurisdiction of the school that are accessible to students during the school day are subject to the new standards.

What do the new standards do?
  • Allow schools to offer healthier snack foods and limit “junk foods”
  • Set standards for fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium content
  • Promote snacks that have main ingredient listed as either:
    • Whole grain
    • Low-fat dairy
    • Fruit
    • Vegetable
    • Protein

Why are the new standards necessary?
  • Nearly one third of children in America are at risk for preventable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease due to being overweight or obese.
  • If unaddressed, health experts predict this generation may be the first to live shorter lives than their parents.
  • Improving the nutritional profile of all foods sold in school is critical to:
    • Improve diet and overall health of American children
    • Ensure children from all income levels adopt healthful eating habits
      rates of childhood obesity by state, 2007

How did the USDA determine the new standards?
  • Received 250,000 stakeholder comments from parents, teachers, food service professionals, health professionals, industry, etc.
  • Reviewed existing school nutrition standards, nutrition standards developed by other entities, and expert recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Resulted in balance of science-based nutrition standards with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating at school, which were published in the Federal Register on February 8, 2013.
General Nutrition Standards for Foods

Any food sold in schools must:
  • Be a “whole grain-rich” product; or
  • First ingredient listed must be a fruit, vegetable, diary product, or protein food; or
  • Be a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
  • Contain 10% of the Daily Value of one of the nutrients of public health concern (calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber)
    • Effective July 1, 2016, this criterion will be removed
    • Allowable competitive foods must be food group based after that date

Specific Nutrient Standards for Foods

  • Food accompaniments
    • Must be included in nutrient profile and considered as part of the food sold.
    • Accompaniments such as cream cheese, salad dressing, butter, etc.
    • Help control calories, fat, sugar and sodium added to foods.
    • Pre-portioning not required, but average portion may be determined.
  • Fundraisers
    • Food items sold meeting nutrition requirements are not limited.
    • Exemption during non-school hours, weekends, off-campus events.
    • Exemption for infrequent fundraisers not meeting nutrition standards, however, state agencies may determine frequency they take place.
Nutrition Standards for Beverages

For All Grade Levels
  • Water
    • Plain water, carbonated or noncarbonated
    • Maximum serving size: no limit
  • Milk
    • Unflavored non-fat and low-fat milk
    • Flavored non-fat milk and milk alternatives
    • Maximum serving size: 8 oz. in elementary, 12 oz. in middle and high schools
  • Juice
    • 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice
    • 100% juice diluted with water, carbonated or noncarbonated, no added sweeteners
    • Maximum serving size: 8 oz. in elementary, 12 oz. in middle and high schools
Other Beverage Options for High School
  • Calorie Free Beverages: up to 20 oz. serving size
    • Calorie-free, flavored water (carbonated or noncarbonated)
    • Other flavored and/or carbonated beverages containing <5 calories per 8 oz., or ≤ 20 calories per 20 oz.
  • Low Calorie Beverages: up to 12 oz. serving size
    • Beverages with ≤ 40 calories per 8 oz., or ≤ 60 calories per 12 fluid oz.

Caffeine Standards for Beverages
  • Elementary and Middle Schools
    • Beverages must be caffeine-free, with the exception of trace amounts of naturally-occurring caffeine substances.
  • High School
    • No caffeine restrictions

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.